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What happens now? Pennsylvania
#1
Hi,
Here are a few facts:
I was injured a few years ago at work in the state of Pennsylvania
Eventually, late last year, I had 1 level acdf surgery with hardware.
I went through physical therapy and am now set to go back to work next week, with no restrictions.
According to my neurosurgeon, my surgery was successful and fusion is occurring.
I feel much better now, except I have less range of motion in my head and random pain in my neck area.
All of my medical bills were paid and I received full ttd benefits while out of work.
I never needed an attorney due to my employer and their workers comp carrier handling everything professionally and courteously.

A few questions:
What will happen now?
Will my case be closed and gone forever?
What if I my injury reoccurs (unlikely, but what if something happens with the hardware or fusion) or the upper or lower disc begin to have problems?
What if I change jobs?
Am I entitled to any kind of settlement? Because if I am I would like to file properly for it and receive it and I am not sure because I do not have an attorney.
Is there anything I need to do now or before returning to work next week to protect myself?

Thanks for reading,

Averagejoe
 
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#2
If you return to work next week PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH THAT NECK AND PROTECT IT.
I to have had a ACDF, I to have had some of the issues you mentioned if you post of what if's. I had my ACDF years ago and since the original surgrey they have had to go back into my neck, the hardware shifted. During that surgrey they also found the disc above and the disc below had been weakened, and they removed them at that time. So proceed with caution. I do not know the WC laws of your state but if you will hang on in here theie is a wonderful attorney from PA who may be able to answer your questions.
But please be careful with your return to work and do take care of that ACDF.
Cervical Fusion 2003, c5-c6. Herniated and damaged Disc L1- L4-L5 S1. Lumbar Spinal Cord stimulator implant 09-2008. Cervical ACDF revision with hardware c4-c5-c6-c7 Sept 2009.
SSDI approved 3-2010. NOW OFFICIALY RETIRED
 
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#3
Cervical_Fusion,
Thanks for the reply. I will be sure to be careful.
Actually, I was kind of surprised I was released to work with no restrictions, considering my job involves climbing outside in the ice and snow, among other duties.
Does that sound correct?

Thanks again,

Averagejoe
 
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#4
your claim remains.
treatment is available for the injury if you need it.
for an aggravation or new injury you file a new claim.

it's your employers insurance. if you change jobs your employer is still protected from your claim.

if you are earning less then you did before the injury you are entitled to some additional wage loss payments.
more here
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/ser...715&mode=2

Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#5
1171,
Thanks for the reply.
You mean if I switch jobs, my new employer will be protected? I didn't quite understand what you meant.

Thanks,

Averagejoe
 
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#6
it's your employers insurance.
they are protected from your claim whether you work there or not.
Reminder :
........Each state has their own comp system; POST YOUR STATE to get accurate information. Use the search feature to find information from similar questions.
THANKS FOR POSTING.
 
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#7
1171,
Okay. Got it!

Thanks again,

Averagejoe
 
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#8
Averagejoe,

If you return full duty, without wage loss, you will most likely receive a notice of suspension that will suspend your wage loss benefits (medical benefits will remain). You would have 20 days after receipt of this notice to file an "Employee Challenge" if you are not able to physically perform the job (your benefits would be immediately reinstated provided you have medical indicating you cannot RTW); after 20 days and you would need to file a Reinstatement Petition (and you would have the burden of proving an entitlement to have benefits reinstated by litigating the petition).

Please note, you may also be entitled to a scarring award. If may be beneficial for you to discuss this matter with a Workers Compensation attorney near you.

Good luck on the return to work.
 
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#9
Frank Lafferty,
Thanks for the reply. I have read about the scar award. Is that something I can file for by myself or is it always a good idea to use a lawyer for this?

To all:

If I change jobs, am I still covered for medical and wage loss if I have further issues with this? Is this forever?
Is there anything I need to do to ensure that I don't have any problems receiving these benefits in the future?
Does it sound correct that I would be released to full duty, without restrictions, considering my job involves climbing outside in the ice and snow, among other duties?
Am I entitled to any other settlements or money? I am not looking for a free ride, but if something is available to me, I do want to file for it.

Thanks again to all who have replied.

Averagejoe


 
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#10
A disfigurement award is something that can be agreed to by the parties or it will be set at the discretion of the workers compensation judge after a hearing. If they offer you an amount you are content with, you can certainly accept that without being represented. If there is a hearing, and you are still not satisfied (or feel that judge under-valued the scar) you can appeal to the WCAB. Depedning on who the judge is, the WCAB can be "more generous" in valuing a scar; but you would need to run the process of a decision, and appeal etc. Do you mind me asking who the insurer is? That may shed light on the liklihood of an "easier" resolution.

Regarding your other questions:

If you change jobs, the original insurer will remain responsible for reasonable, necessary and related medical bills to the injury. If your condition is aggravated, it would be considered a new injury. If you go off of work because of the original injury, a re-instatement petition would be necessary if you have been back for more than 20 days (see my original response).

If the bills are reasonable, necessary and related, they should be paid. If they are not, you would need to file a Penalty Petition for the failure to pay medical benefits.

The full release I imagine was something your doctor provided knowing the duties of your job; but still if you have issues upon your immediate return, be prepared to file the Employee Challenge to ensure no stop in benefits.

Absent the scarring award. If you RTW without a wage loss, there is always a possibility of a C & R for the medicals, but that is really dependent on what type of medicals you are exposing the carrier to.

Hope that helps.
 
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